On the morning after the federal election we take a closer look at the Liberal Government’s platform for immigration. In a background paper published on September 25, 2015, the Liberal party outlined its priorities for reforming Canada’s immigration system.
From a business perspective, I am pleased to read that the platform includes a recognition that Canada’s future success is largely driven by attracting talented people from around the world, and that “with Canada’s aging population, having a robust, effective, and efficient immigration system is critical to our long-term economic growth.”
Central to the new government’s platform is a commitment to compassion and the creation of economic opportunity within the immigration system. This includes expansion of current refugee quotas from Syria and Iraq and making family reunification one of the core immigration priorities, including the doubling of budgets for family class processing.
For business, the paper takes a swipe at the temporary foreign worker program – and the levels of temporary workers in Canada. No doubt this will continue to be a hot issue in the coming months. Business will need to continue to press the case for more open access to highly skilled workers through the international mobility program, intra-company transfers and trade agreements.
Some positive measures for business in the new government’s immigration agenda include:
· Providing greater access to applicants with Canadian siblings, by granting additional points under the Express Entry system.
· A commitment to conduct a review of the Express Entry program, ensuring that processing times are efficient.
· Restoring the maximum age for dependents to 22 instead of 19.
· Granting immediate permanent residency to new spouses entering Canada, rather than imposing a two-year conditional status.
· A commitment to restore the residency time credit for foreign students and other temporary residents applying to become Canadian citizens.
· A commitment to make changes to the Canadian Experience Class to reduce the barriers to immigration that have been imposed on international students.
· Reverse the roadblocks in the immigration system that have created unnecessary inconveniences and costs for Canadians and Canadian businesses.
CERC is developing a detailed paper for improving Canada’s economic immigration program that will be presented to the newly appointed Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in the very near future.